May 13, 2014

HobbyTown USA Model Contest

     Everybody likes a model contest, and especially if you can enter for under five bucks. Saturday, May 10th saw HobbyTown hold their annual model contest. Along with that, HPM was invited to rise up from their usual Build & Bull dungeon in the basement to conduct a day long Build & Bull right alongside the model contest. By all accounts the contest and build session were a great hit. Let's also give a special shout-out to Dave Dardine for organizing and coordinating the day's events. Thanks Dave!
      Here are a few pictures for you to salivate over while you ponder your next build:

Morning preparations just underway.

Leftwards out of the Hobbytown entrance like the B&B tables.

Kids of all ages got in on the action. ;)

The aircraft table.

Another shot of aircraft.

A very nice looking Me-262, I believe done by Pablo.

Mustang, Cadillac of the Skies.

Armor was well represented also.

Sherman tank.

Colorful cars brighten this end of the table.

"I. Am. Speed."

Best In Show winner John C.'s corvette. Amazing work.

Bridge of the corvette.

The gun crew takes aim.

Local modelers gather for some Vietnamese lunch. All were smiles before the indigestion kicked in.

Every kid should fly an airplane indoors.

Winners on the aircraft table.

May 11, 2014

"Big Boy" Locomotive 4014 Transits Wyoming En Route To Be Restored

Article written by HPM member Chris Nugent

     During the April club meeting, word reached my ears that an old steam locomotive would be traveling from California to Cheyenne to be restored. Union Pacific 4014, a "Big Boy", would not be under its own power, but would be towed by two diesel-electric locomotives, along with a small support train.  After the meeting that night, I flew to the internet, where I learned its route would bring it through Laramie, then south almost to the Colorado/Wyoming state line and east to Cheyenne. The night before it was to make the final leg of its journey, I decided a road trip was in order. I am a fan of road trips anyway, and as long as I can afford gas and a sack lunch, I'll drive to Kansas in a day if there's something worthwhile to be seen.
     Thursday dawned chilly with sporadic clouds in Fort Collins, but as I drove north on old Highway 287, the clouds rallied above my head, blooming into a full overcast. By the time I passed the state line, it was snowing.
The first freight train, which blocked my view of the steam loco.

     My plan was to park on an outlying road just south of Laramie, adjacent to the railroad tracks. Arriving there about 10am, I shut the car off to wait, read a book, and photograph some graffiti laden rail cars. The timetable had the locomotive departing at 10am, so I should have been almost perfectly timed. Unfortunately, a freight train rolled out on the westernmost track, while at the same time the steam locomotive headed south on the eastern set of tracks. That's right, it was a dual track line, unbeknownst to me at the time. I managed to glimpse the top of the old steam loco  hidden behind the freight train. Realizing my mistake, I jumped in the car to head back south to my planned backup parking spot near Tie Siding, WY and the state line. I could easily outpace the 40mph train by doing 65 on the highway and gain myself a lead.
Some of the graffiti was quite impressive.

     Arriving at Tie Siding, I turned east onto bumpy Hermosa Road. It turned out to be a popular spot for trainwatchers, as I had traffic behind me, traffic ahead, and a whole gaggle of parked cars near the rail crossing. I slid to a stop on the side of the dirt road. Jumping out with camera and binoculars, I discovered HPM members Gary, 72 Scott, and John C. chatting in a circle, where I joined them.
A palette of red mud, lush spring grass, and bits of azure sky complement expectant black rails.

Cars parked everywhere.

     We were fortunate to have only a short wait, as the cold wind blowing through the Laramie Basin between the Medicine Bow Mountains and the Laramie Range was bone-chilling. Soon we could hear the laboring of the diesel-electric locomotives as they climbed an incline in their approach to the crossing. Then they let out a long whistle and came into view at the crest of the hill. A low moan issued from the whistle of the steam loco--they had hooked air up to it so they could give the train fans a surprise. As the assembly passed by, the majestic action of those huge connecting rods on the steam loco's wheels was a sight not soon to be forgotten. In far too short a time, the short collection of history had passed by and dwindled in the distance.
The procession heaves into sight.

Train fans take aim.

      The crowd rushed to their cars to escape the cold, and most hurried from the sight immediately after the steam loco had passed by. Some, though, waited a bit, and got to watch the long freight train which had blocked my view earlier pass by. Finally, I packed it up and headed out for the long, blustery drive back to Colorado.
Beauty shot of the freight train cresting the hill.